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Monday, June 21, 2010

Quinoa and Barley Salad


This was my first time cooking quinoa. The stuff was actually kind of hard to find here, and wow! So expensive! For a small bag in some places it was about $8, which seemed kind of over the top. I did eventually find a small box of it that seemed more reasonable, so I thought I'd try this recipe since it's a little different from what I usually make.

Hubs refused to try it, but Jake smacked his lips, took thirds, and asked me to make it again. I served it with seared steak for Jake, and roasted chicken breast for me and Hubs. The portions might seem small but they are actually kind of filling, so don't worry. If you wanted to add some chopped nuts, like pecans or almonds, it might add a nice crunch.

What is quinoa, anyway? Check out this site for some info.

Adapted from Canadian Living October 2006
Salad:
2/3 cup barley
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup each finely diced carrot, celery, onion, sweet red pepper, and zucchini
1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and mint
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I found this to be a bit much. I'd reduce it a little)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

First, cook the barley. Bring 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil, adding a pinch of salt. Add the barley, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until tender and all the liquid has been absorbed, for about 30-40 minutes (watch it carefully). I ended up adding more water. Let cool.

In a different pan, bring 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt to a boil, then add the quinoa. Cover and turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, saute up the celery, onion, red pepper, and zucchini in a little olive oil until just tender crisp. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, toss together the cooled quinoa, barley, veggies, cucumber, mint, thyme, and parsley. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, ginger, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

You can make this ahead and then chill for up to 24 hours! Store in a sealed, airtight container.

Makes 6 servings.
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